Agitated hoppper should be number one for automatic modes.
A new barrel will increase accuracy and improve noise.
Inexpensive, excellent trigger, good choice of firing modes and easy to change amongst them.
Grip isn't terribly comfortable, sight rail can be a hazard, loud
This is only my second paintball marker. Up until recently I had been using a Brass Eagle Avenger that did decently well for a beginner. However, after upgrading to a better barrel and electric hopper I wasn't getting the performance I wanted so I decided to buy a better marker. I was initially going to buy an Tippmann M98 but I really liked the idea of an Imagine, which has an electric trigger with several modes and an x-chamber for about the same price as the M98.
First of all, the look and feel of the marker. The Imagine is a fairly good-looking marker and is not too heavy. It is heavier than my Avenger but not nearly as heavy as a JT 5.0. When using the fore grip the marker is very well balanced when a larger(12oz or greater) CO2 tank is used. The cocking mechanism is also very cool, working internally and being ambidextrous. The sight rail looks cool but it sharp on the edges. Many people seem to think that a sight rail is useless on a vertical feed. However, red dot sights can be used with both eyes open; allowing use to "see through" the hopper. The stock barrel is acceptable but an aftermarket barrel is a considerable upgrade in looks and performance.
The electronic trigger frame is the star performer of this marker. Using the IPI system, one can select the various firing modes. The modes availible are: semi-automatic, 3 round burst(normal or turbo) and automatic(normal or turbo). In semi-auto the light trigger makes high rate of fire easy. I can easily reach about 10 balls per second. In turbo autmatic the ROF is just insane, 13bps I believe. My 12volt Revolution loader, with the X-Board, keeps up with it without chopping though. The burst mode is nice too, it is just like automatic except it stops every 3 shots requiring you to release and re-pull the trigger to fire another burst.
Since the marker is still similar to other Spyders in all ways except for the trigger, the performance is similar. This can have its disadvantages. For one, it is fairly loud, especially with the stock barrel. With a decent aftermarket barrel(such as a J&J Ceramic barrel) the noise is reduced considerably. Velocities are fairly consistent due to the x-chamber, but on long bursts of automatic firing slight variances in velocity are noticeable. The marker also has a slight “kick”, nothing comparable to that of a real firearm but enough to have slight effects on your aim. With the exception of the slight kick, accuracy is excellent. A managed to shoot a small 2” circular disc on my second shot at 25 feet, pretty impressive considering no sights were used. When I shoot the marker at a 45 degree angle you can see that the paintballs (I am currently using Zap Sport Series) travel very straight without curving like other markers I have tried. My main complaints about the marker can be remedied through upgrades, making this a great marker to upgrade as you have the money available.
Accessories: The marker also comes with an AC adaptor to plug in to the marker to charge the (also included) 9.6V rechargeable NiMH(Nickel-Metal Hydride) battery. A vertical plastic elbow is also included. It is transparent which allows you to see the feed path and is adjustable on the top and bottom. Using a coin or flat blade screwdriver you can adjust for a tight fit on the feed port and hopper.
In closing, this marker makes a great marker for a novice(but not total newbie) to paintball. The electric trigger may be too touchy for first time players though. The performance you get for the price is amazing. Highly recommended.